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Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Twin Arches Area

Site Directions: Twin Arches trailhead is located off Hwy 154 (Pickett Park Highway). Follow Hwy 154 for 1.8 miles north of the Hwy 297 intersection. Then, turn right onto Divide Road. After traveling 1.3 miles, Divide Road will fork; stay left on Divide Road for another 2.7 miles. Then, turn right onto Twin Arches Road which dead ends at the Twin Arches Trailhead.
Trailhead Parking Lot -
36.5444, -84.74183
Hours: daylight hours, however some areas are open 24 hrs a day
Seasonality: year round
Fees: no fee for birding and hiking, however fees may apply for other activities

Site Description: Twin Arches is an unusual double sandstone stone arch formed by erosion along a narrow ridge. A designated State Natural Area owned by the NPS, the site's two arches (North and South) are considered the largest in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. This pair of arches forms one of the largest natural bridge complexes in the world. The short 0.7-mile Twin Arches Trail leading to the arches starts at the trailhead. The trail follows a narrow ridge where the trail splits and forms a loop. Turning left here and descending two sets of stairs will take you to the base of the cliff. Staying to the right, you will travel on the bluffline to the North Arch. This trail divides again with the left trail crossing the South Arch. The stairway between the arches leads down to the base of the cliff and back across the top of the North Arch, forming a loop.

Wildlife to Watch: The site is a large, mature forest that contains a high density of Neotropical species and individuals. Some common breeding birds are Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Worm-eating Warbler, and Pine Warbler. Sharp-shinned Hawk, Swainson's Warbler, and Blue-headed Vireo are exceptional nesting birds in the area. Swainson's Warblers can be found along steep gorges with thick vegetation, but they are uncommon and not always detected. Mink may be seen in some areas. White-tailed deer and Wild Turkey are commonly seen around the park. Some overlooks can be good for migrating raptors in September and October.

Northern Saw-whet Owls can be found in winter with some regularity, but much effort is needed to locate these birds.

NOTE: Please refer to TWRA Hunting Guide about hunting seasons and public access dates. Access dates vary by site.

For more information:

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Audubon Important Bird Area web page

Twin Arches SNA web page

Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail

Submit your data to eBird and help us build a list of birds seen at this site

Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.